04 January 2011

December chess puzzles revisited

I guess I managed to find all solutions in both of the solving contests I wrote about in December.

The one in the Stuttgarter Zeitung was tricky as always, but the more often you attempt to solve such types of puzzles, the better you become. But it's always and easily possible that you miss something. Therefore, I won't cheer too early.

Generally speaking, some of the ChessBase puzzles seemed to be quite hard. I didn't mind, for in most cases, I quickly discovered the ideas behind. The autographs were not too difficult to identify, but I am clueless with this astronomy stuff, at least with regards to the third object. All in all, this was a strange contest. After several years without any prizes to win at all, there is the possibility again — with the toughest contest ever and just four (...) prizes. Either you're a problemist to solve the chess puzzles, then you'd rather prefer the book as a prize, if at all. On the other hand, as a chess player collecting autographs, you might like to win the signed software, but it's quite likely that you'll struggle to get there. Hopefully, there'll be some statistics about the number of participants and how many solved what. That'd be really interesting.

As for the Christmas puzzles on Susan Polgar's blog ... yes, I liked (most of) them, too. The proof games were fun, though the third was published with a wrong diagram as you already know. Moreover, it took them a long time to make an attempt to correct it. Why didn't they just give the correct diagram?! Then the Christmas trees. I reckon only the first was actually composed by Pal Benko, as there was no author mentioned for No. 2 and No. 3. Benko's tree had a nice sacrificial key and was the best by far. But the following three-mover was ugly and I am not talking about the colors of the squares. The key, the variations and the duals — no thanks! And the worst was still to come the very next day. This time, a four-mover with three solutions (huh?) and even more duals. A chess player might be happy to just find one of those solutions, not caring that this is supposed to be a chess problem (isn't it?), treating it as any other tactical combination in a game. On the other hand, the problemist gets stomachache. At least, one solution is unique.

Am I too discerning?

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